Sariwon

Korean is one of my favorite cuisines. I would take Korean barbecue over most others any day of the week. I love the way the sweet marinade combines with the grilled flavor of the meat. When Sariwon opened in the Bonifacio High Street Central, I was really excited to try it. The menu was simple which I appreciated, as were their dishes. I found my dining experience truly enjoyable. The staff was nice and well versed on the menu items. Even if we came close to closing time, they welcomed us with a smile, quickly readied a table for us and brought us antibacterial wipes. I appreciate these little gestures because so often do you come across restaurants that serve good food but have an abhorring staff.

Antibacterial Wipes

Another element I loved about Sariwon was the little plates of complimentary starters that come before your meal: An assortment of pickled veggies, sweet potato mash, traditional kimchi and my favorite of all, their dilis.

Complimentary Starters of Pickled Vegetables, Sweet Potato Mash, Kimchi & Dilis

Sweet Potato Mash

Kimchi

Dilis

Being a beef lover, I wanted to sample both the Sariwon Bulgogi and their Grilled Galbi. Both were great. The meat was tasty and you could really tell the flavors in the marinade. I am not the biggest fan of broth with my meat so I definitely preferred the grilled options but I did welcome the noodles, mushrooms and leeks that came with the Bulgogi. For the grilled options, I sampled both the Galbi and the Seng Galbi which is a higher grade and slightly more expensive. Naturally the better beef gave the better flavor and texture but honestly, I enjoyed both. The Galbi will satisfy the craving while the Seng Galbi will satisfy the foodie. Either way, the customer is happy.

Sariwon Bulgogi

Asides from the beef, I sampled their Dak Galbi. The spice level was good and the flavor was as well. Though it was very nicely seasoned it is not the best I have tried. What I did really like was their Hameul Pajeon. This potato, shrimp and spring onion pancake is one of my ultimate favorite Korean dishes and Sariwon makes a really tasty one that has a nice texture to it as well. Plus the dipping sauce was great!

Dak Galbi

 

Haemul Pajeon

All in all, Sariwon was a good dining experience. I would return because asides from the food being good, I found the price points reasonable. This coupled with the friendly staff and accessible location makes it a winner for me.

Sariwon is located in U/GF Bonifacio High Street Central, West Superblock, 7th Avenue corner 29th street, Fort Bonifacio.

 

My Wedding by a Master

As my 6th year wedding anniversary draws closer, it seems fitting to do a post on something in connection to that beautiful summer day. As happy as I should be writing this piece, it is quite the opposite. You see, not only am I going to talk about the wonderful feast that was prepared for my husband and I, I am going to talk about the brilliant mind behind it, one which was taken from us just a few days ago. I may be sad but in no way am I uninspired. If there is one feeling that this man constantly brought out in me (and many, many others) it was inspiration.

Let me start at the very beginning. It was mid June when my then fiancé and I decided to scout for a location in Tagaytay to hold our wedding reception. I was dead set on finding a beautiful garden. I knew that I wanted something outdoors wherein my guests could be cooled by the natural breeze. At that point the only other detail we had agreed upon was that we wanted to incorporate Spanish touches to the details.  As we were driving hand in hand, my husband received a call from his Ninong Ed (Quimson). This wasn’t unexpected because they were quite close and spoke often. He invited us to see a new place, which he was helping develop a menu for called Splendido. I remember clearly that he was honest in telling us that it was not necessarily a garden so I wasn’t too keen on the idea initially. But because we knew that he would be catering our wedding, we thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a look. Upon arriving my mind quickly shifted as I saw the open lounge bordered by a beautiful golf course, which was surrounded by sprawling mountains. The place also captured the perfect view of the Taal Volcano. A decision was made on the spot; this indeed was the perfect location for our Spanish themed celebration.

From that point on, planning was in full swing. It was in those days that I truly got to know Tito Ed or Chef Ed as he is most commonly known. He was a gentle giant with a laugh that was infectious. There were aspects of his personality, which truly made an impact on me that up to this day I will never forget. One of which was passion, he always had a smile on his face, especially when ideas would come to mind that excited him. And with these grand ideas came execution, he knew the importance of taking his thoughts and putting them on a plate flawlessly. Another facet of him that I remember clearly was his compassion. He was kind to everyone, mostly to those working under him. His sue chefs, his servers, the dishwashers, his helpers and drivers… There was mutual respect between him and his staff which created a harmonious and even fun working relationship. Lastly, I cannot leave out how much I admired his sheer creativity. In a time where so many chefs and food enthusiasts were recreating tried and tested dishes to their own liking, he managed to remain unique, creating food that was new, sometimes dubious, but always exciting to the customer. He loved food so much that he would take two completely contrasting ingredients, put them together and it would just work. I believe that this is why Tito Ed was looked up to by so many, because he was truly a pioneer in the industry.

Tito Ed was the clear choice when it came to selecting a Ninong for our wedding. As the weeks and months passed, he truly became one of my co-planners. He helped me source some suppliers and work out the kinks in booking the location. But of course, we had the most fun when conceptualizing and sampling the food that would be served. Keeping in line with the Spanish theme, we decided on a grand assortment of tapas and paella. Each element was carefully thought out so that flavors and textures would contrast yet still remain in theme.

We started out with the appetizers to be passed around for cocktails. Tito Ed and I wanted guests to be fed as soon as they arrived in the reception. On the menu were Gazpacho soup shots, Croquetas de Bacalao, Croquetas de Pollo and Spring Rolls, which were filled with chorizo and cheese. All of which were comforting and hearty. I was just happy to have his croquetas because that was the first thing we ate together when Armand introduced us back in 2003.

Croquetas de Bacalao

Our pica-pica buffet was segregated across the area so that anywhere you went, there was food to pick on. That idea was all Tito Ed. One area had Gambas, Baked Mussels, Pastel de Lengua and Callos. Another area had what he called the Butcher’s Block wherein there was an assortment of Salami, Cheese and Fruit. He also insisted on an ice station for those who wanted light and refreshing options such as a choice of Balsamico or Caesar Salad, Smoked Salmon, Smoked Tanigue, Salmon and Tuna Sashimi and his famous Pate.

Gambas

Baked Mussels

Pastel de Lengua

Callos

Salami Platter

The next stations had larger portions of food. There was a full Paella station that had all the choices ranging from Valenciana, Negra, Vegetarian and Pasta Paella. We also had carvings of Chateaubriand with Bernaise Sauce, Leg of Ham with Pineapple Sauce and Leg of Lamb with Mint Jelly.

Paella Valenciana

Leg of Ham with Pineapple Glaze

Needless to say there was an abundant dessert station. This was so special because he allowed us to bring in Family favorites like my mom’s Apple Pie, Cheesecake and Lemon Squares, my mother in law’s Carrot Cake and my Banana Chocolate Cupcakes. All this along with the Belgian Chocolate Wedding Cake which was made by my mom.

There was one item that was never discussed when menu planning, but to me, it made all the difference on my wedding night. When the party was in full swing (and the alcohol was taking over) fresh wood fired pizzas were being served straight from the oven. There was everything from Pizza Margherita to Pizza Bianca, with toppings like chorizo and mushroom. To a bride that barely got to eat, this was a heavenly coat for a stomach quickly filling up with sparkling Rose. Again, this was yet another surprise out dear Ninong Ed had for us.

Fresh Wood Fired Pizza

There are so many beautiful memories I have of my wedding but today, I choose to remember him, who was such an integral part of it. He always told us not to worry about the cost because the food (blood sweat and tears included in preparation) would be his wedding gift. But to me, it was an unparalleled act of love on his part toward my husband and an unquestionable acceptance of me as his wife. And though the food was a great gift in deed, he truly gave us so much more during that whole time… He gave us a piece of himself that will forever be etched in my memory.

My husband with our Ninong, Chef Ed Quimson

Rest in peace Tito Ed, our Ninong, a mentor and my friend… You will forever live in our marriage and in our home through your recipies and all our loving memories together.

*All photos on this post are by the team of Pat Dy Photography

 

 

URBN Bar & Kitchen

When Urbn Bar & Kitchen opened its doors last December it quickly became one of the most happening clubs to hit the scene. It is a huge space and the music is always good. I also found that the drinks were reasonably priced and though the cocktails were common, they were yummy and refreshing.

So they had the ‘bar’ part down but what about the ‘kitchen?’ I was lucky enough to sample some entrees from its dry run menu and was pleased to see that they just may succeed as well as a restaurant.

The Blackbenny Angus Burger

I usually make a preliminary judgment on a place when I try its burger. I feel like if you can’t do a decent burger, you may be in a bit of trouble. Of course a burger is usually designed to the specs of the consumer, but I go straight to the patty and taste it naked. After which I taste it as a whole with all the toppings and of course, the bread (which to me is just as important as the meat). Urbn’s Black Benny Angus Burger is quite nice. The patty itself had a tasty grilled flavor and the beef was fresh. My favorite part was the soft brioche bun and the onion jam. Their combined sweetness balanced the flavorful patty. This came with sweet potato fries, which I personally found a bit thick but tasted good when paired with their homemade aioli.

Crispy Duck Leg

Next I sampled the Crispy Duck Leg… this was divine. The skin so beautifully crispy while the meat was perfectly cooked and full of flavor. This to me was an awesome dish. It sat on a bed of mushroom risotto, which was just alright but a good siding because it in no way overpowered the duck and paired well with the red wine jus. I would return for this dish.

My Aunt Litzie’s Lasagna

Double Cooked Kurobota Pork Belly

I then tried My Aunt Litzie’s Lasagna. I enjoyed it because it was authentic and felt like I was eating in someone’s home. It was true comfort food, which is what one would expect from this staple. I paired this with the Double Cooked Kurobota Pork Belly. Though the skin was crunchy, this was my least favorite dish as a whole. The flavor was not bad and the meat was cooked well but there was too much fat for my taste.

Australian Rack of Lamb

Last but not least, I sampled the Australian Rack Of Lamb. It was tender, cooked to a perfect medium. The crust was nice and salty but not too much that it overpowered the flavor of the meat. I also really enjoyed the tangy yogurt sauce, which gave the dish a hint of a Persian vibe. The pumpkin it sat on was so simple but executed quite nicely. It added the perfect sweetness to the dish to balance out the salt from the lamb and sour notes on the sauce.

Classic Souffle – Chocolate

And as always, I never leave a place without sampling dessert… Tonight I only had room for one so I picked a simple chocolate souffle.